How Many Astronauts Believe Aliens Exist?

All of them, according to former Space Station commander Chris Hadfield. At least somewhere.
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Astronaut Chris Hadfield is a reasonable man, a former commander of the International Space Station, and a social media superstar. 

He recently went on WNYC's Brian Lehrer show to discuss his life and career when a caller asked him about the existence of "alien life." 

"I don't know of any astronauts who think we're alone in the universe," Hadfield replied. 

Now, he's obviously not talking about the UFO-Area-51 imaginary kind of aliens. He's commenting on the possibility that somewhere out there, on some other planet, there are the bags of chemicals we call organisms reproducing themselves. 

And in that belief, he's in the mainstream of astrobiological thought, as Lane Wallace explained this week. There are just so many galaxies, which are filled with so many stars, which are circled by so many planets ... How could there not be life, even if we haven't found it?

 

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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